ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has called for “Bord Bia to take a leaf out of Ornua’s book” and suspend the levy in light of the sector’s difficulties.”
Phelan said the suspension should stay in place “until such time as viable markets for cattle carcasses over 420kg can be found.”
In terms of weight limits, the beef chairman said that many farmers believe that they are “contrived by processors and retailers as a means of squeezing extra profit at the expense of farmers.”
The calls from ICSA come in the wake of Ornua’s decision to suspend the dairy farmer milk levyfrom 1 May.
Ornua spokesperson Jeanne Kelly said the suspension was “in recognition of the on-farm challenges currently experienced by Irish dairy farming families due to global dairy market downturn.”
If a dairy farmer can’t afford a marketing levy, then it is clear that a beef farmer has even less ability to pay it
ICSA’s Edmond Phelan also added that beef farmers were sick of seeing every effort made to help dairy farmers while there is no recognition of the difficulties of the beef sector.
“If a dairy farmer can’t afford a marketing levy, then it is clear that a beef farmer has even less ability to pay it,” he said.
The Irish Farmers Journal contacted Bord Bia who declined to comment on the suggestion.
The €1.90 levy per head of cattle sold for slaughter or live export contributes around €3m to Bord Bia’s annual budget.
Relations between farmers and Bord Bia have featured regularly at the recent IFA election debates, with voters and candidates calling for better returns for farmers’ investment and effort into the food board’s activities.
Deputy presidential candidate Nigel Renaghan was involved in a spat with the agency over its pay and pension expenditure, while presidential candidate and livestock chairman Henry Burns said that he had blocked the signature of a new beef quality assurance scheme agreement until audits were made more “farmer-friendly”.